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97% of Ripon Christian grads heading to college
Lindsay Hannink and Jeffrey Hulsey are the commencement speakers for Ripon Christian High School’s graduation on Friday. - photo by GLENN KAHL

RIPON — Ripon Christian High School’s commencement speakers, valedictorian Jeffrey Hulsey and salutatorian Lindsay Hannick, have garnered over $100,000 in college scholarship money over four years.

Graduates in the class of 2009 have drawn some $1.5 million in scholarships with 97 percent of the class, 66 students, are going on to college, according to school principal Mary Ann Sybesma.  Eight students - 15 percent of the class - have grade point averages above 4.0.

Hulsey is planning to major in mechanical engineering at Montana State.

“I’m good at math and science and I feel that is where God is calling me.” he said.  His scholarship is for $15,000 a year over four years after reaching a 4.36 grade point average.   

He said he is focusing on a grad degree in aerospace and wants to do something with planes or rockets for his career.

Hannink will be attending Dort College in Sioux City, Iowa, in the fall where she will be working towards a BS in nursing.  Her scholarship to that school totals $11,000 renewable annually and a smaller scholarship towards the nursing program -- following her grade point average of 4.23.

She received Dort’s Distinguished Scholar Award -- the highest academic scholarship the school presents.

The valedictorian credited two Ripon Christian teachers for much of his success in school - Mark Hoeksema, who teaches Bible, and Sherwin Heyboer, the history and economics teacher.

“I can see God through them.  They have helped me be a better person,” he said.

Both agreed that those are the classes where they have the most discussions.

Hannink credited her sixth-grade teacher, Mrs. Doris Anema, who was her junior high school English teacher.  “It was the first year we really discussed life in class - how we could learn from the Bible and use it in everyday life. “

Some of her spare time has been devoted to playing the piano at nursing homes including Evergreen in Modesto.  She has also played her flute for the residents at English Oaks nursing home.

Hulsey attended New Jerusalem School in Tracy in his elementary school years coming to Ripon Christian as a freshman in high school.  He said although he was nervous in coming into the school without knowing anyone, he quickly made friends.

Hulsey said that his favorite high school memory is probably the Washington, D.C., trip that some 50 to 60 students made in the spring.  They visited the many historical locations in the Capital including a tour through Congress.

Both Hannink and Hulsey were active in sports.  He played tennis, soccer, basketball and air soft after school.

Hannink was  a guard on her basketball team, played second base in softball and also served as the unofficial team nurse.  She said there were a lot of sliding injuries.  She also  played a lot of recreational badminton at home and at relatives’ homes near British Columbia.  She said the B.C. family games were usually at midnight,  often because it was still so light at that time of the evening in British Columbia.